Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nothing says hokiness...









...like a mounted civil war cavalry reenactment! Look at the pictures (and I've seen worse). Does this look like 'a train wreck'? The opposing lines 'thundered into one another with a loud clash!'? 'A mounted cavalcade of men and horses drawn toward one another with lightning speed and thunderous brutality!'?

Or, few guys on horseback playing army and rattling their sabers? Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for the mounted cavalry. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of expense to buy a trained horse, full gear and tack and a trailer, and then to travel cross country to a reenactment. But, the cavalry should use appropriate tactics, scouting the flanks, dismounting to form skirmish lines, quickly re-forming and moving to another threatened area, etc. Don't let them degrade to couriers and such, but use them appropriately.

Are we really honoring the struggles and sacrifices made by brave men in violent episodes of brutality when two guys ride up to one another, tap their sabers together a few times, smile, and say, "Good job, Johnny Reb/Billy Yank!", and then ride off into the sunset?

There is no safe way to portray the ferocity, the sheer brutality of a mounted Civil war cavalry charge! They generally tend to degrade to a state of hokiness, so we should really stop trying. Come to the reenactments, show your tactics, demonstrate your weapons and gear and find a proper place. Otherwise, the integrity of the whole event suffers. People are not being educated. They are being entertained in a comedic sort of way, and there was nothing funny about a mounted cavalry charge!
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